Grinnell News

Big GIVE Month Starts Oct. 1


Big GIVE Month Starts Oct. 1

GPCF annual fundraiser motivated by art and matching challenges at Oct. 8 auction


The Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation’s annual Big GIVE fundraising campaign, Oct. 1-31, will take an artful twist this year with matching challenges and an Oct. 8 kickoff and recognition event focused on “The Art of Growing Community.”

Last year, donors from throughout Poweshiek County contributed $307,500 to 36 different funds administered by GPCF during the 2015 month-long campaign.

“The Big GIVE campaign helps donors connect to the causes they care about most. We had a very positive response from our donors to the month-long campaign last year and anticipate similar results this year,” said GPCF Executive Director Nicole Brua-Behrens.  “Our non-profit partners are grateful for and rely on the Big GIVE donations for support throughout the year.”

The Oct. 8 Spirit of Giving event, sponsored by Grinnell College, is open to the public and will be held at the Grinnell College Golf Course clubhouse from 7-10 p.m., with a $10 suggested donation at the door.  The evening will feature a live art experience created by local artist Joe Lacina and accompanied by harpist Laurel Tuggle.  As the audience watches and listens, Lacina will paint two landscape pieces on hand-crafted panels to be auctioned together or separately with a “buy it now” opportunity for bidders.

A silent auction will include items donated by local businesses and individuals:  Iowa football and basketball tickets along with a gift certificate to Monica’s restaurant in Coralville; Iowa State football tickets; framed art from artist Tilly Woodward; an Indian themed dinner for 12 hosted by GPCF and the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation (CDAF) staff; Civic Center tickets; and a fire truck ride to school for a group of youth by the Grinnell and Brooklyn Fire Departments.  Proceeds from the auction will benefit the GPCF operations fund.

The evening program will also include honoring the recipient of the foundation’s annual Connie Marshall Spirit of Giving award, as well as the honorees of the Mentoring award, Business Partner of the Year for collaboration with non-profits award, and Youth Spirit volunteer leadership award.   GPCF will also recognize the 10 years of collaboration and support with CDAF, “without which we would not be where we are today,” Brua-Behrens said.

“Please come help us celebrate philanthropy and generosity in Poweshiek County. We want to share the story of how GPCF works and to give credit to our sponsor Grinnell College, donors and nonprofits for all the good work being done in our local communities.”

GPCF board member Vince Walker, chair of the foundation’s development and marketing committee, encourages donors, present and potential, to consider the many matching challenges available to stimulate new and increased gifts.  The challenges, all connected to the “Art of Growing Community” theme, include:


  • the Preparing the Canvas Challenge, which offers a $500 prize to the nonprofit that receives the first online donation on Oct. 1, opening day of Big GIVE,, and a $500 prize to the nonprofit with the greatest number of online donations on Oct. 3
  • the Prized Collection Challenge, which will award $500 to the nonprofit that raises the most money during the campaign


  • the Brooklyn Mosaic Challenge, given by an anonymous donor, will match up to $25,000 donated to the six endowed funds of the Brooklyn community


  • the Board Pop Art Challenge, which will enter all organization boards with 100 percent board participation into a drawing for $1,000 for their nonprofit organization


  • the Grinnell Area Arts Council (GAAC) Manga Challenge, which will match from the Jon Lacina Arts Fund $1 for every $2 in new gifts (up to $10,000) to the GAAC Endowment


  • the Still Life Challenge from Scott Baumann and Dental Associates which will match up to $1,000 donated to the Tiger Packs program


  • the GNEE Primary Colors Challenge by anonymous donors which will match up to $2,000 donated to the Grinnell Newburg Educational Excellence (GNEE) Fund


  • the S.H.E. COUNTS Art Nouveau Challenge by an anonymous donor which will match up to $2,500 donated to the S.H.E. COUNTS Endowment fund


  • the Masterpiece Completion Challenge which will offer a $500 prize to the nonprofit that receives the most online donations on Oct. 31, the final day of Big GIVE


  • The Tom & Connie Marshall Fund Most Beloved Piece Challenge, offered by the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, will contribute $100,000 to the Tom and Connie Marshall Administrative Endowment Fund if the community is able to raise $800,000 toward the administrative fund. To date, more than $450,000 has been contributed to the Marshall Fund, named for GPCF founder Tom Marshall and long-time community volunteer Connie Marshall, to support the annual operating expenses of GPCF.

“Gifts of all sizes are needed to support our partner organizations,” Walker said, “so our focus during Big GIVE Month is on helping donors find the fund or project that best matches their giving interest. Our Catalog of Giving, which lists by category all of the giving opportunities administered by the Foundation, is available online as well as printed copies.”

“We also want to remind donors that gifts to any of the GPCF endowed funds qualify for Endow Iowa Tax Credits. This is a  25 percent Iowa state tax credit in addition to the standard federal income tax deductions for certain charitable gifts. If the 2016 tax credits have all been issued before year-end, donors may carry credits forward into 2017.”

Donors can review the GPCF Catalog for Giving at and specify which fund or project they wish to support when sending contributions to GPCF, P.O. Box 344, Grinnell, Ia., 50112, donate online at, or contact Brua-Behrens at 641-236-5518.  GPCF receives back office services such as gift processing through the Community Support Services (CSS) program of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation.

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